In a family law dispute, a court may issue an order defining each party’s rights and obligations. For example, a court may issue an order obligating one party to pay alimony or child support, or setting forth a parenting plan. Although the courts carefully weigh many factors in considering what is appropriate prior to issuing a family law order, either party’s circumstances may change, and it may become necessary to modify the order. If you are subject to a family law order, and you wish to amend its terms due to a recent change in conditions, it is critical to engage a skilled Fort Lauderdale family law attorney to assist you in seeking a modification. At the Law Offices of Carmen G. Soto, P.A., we can assist you in seeking a modification that addresses your needs.Modification of a Child Support Order
Under Florida law, both parents are required to support a child financially. To enforce a parent’s financial obligations to a child, a court may order one parent to pay child support to the other parent. Florida sets forth guidelines that courts must use to determine appropriate support amounts. Additionally, the court will weigh several factors prior to issuing a child support order, including each parent’s income and expenses, as well as the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, to determine whether a deviation from the guidelines is warranted. Since these factors may not remain the same over the long term, a child support order may need to be modified.
Either the party paying support or the party receiving support can request a change to the support obligation. The party seeking a modification of a child support order must show that there has been an ongoing and substantial change in circumstances that necessitates a modification. The change must be sufficient, material, voluntary, and permanent. Typically, a party will seek a modification due to a change in income, a change in the expenses related to caring for the child, or a change in parenting time.
Even if the party seeking a modification shows that there has been a change in circumstances, the court will not grant a modification of a child support order if the new support obligation is not at least 15 percent more or less than the previous amount, or $50.00 per month, whichever is greater.Modification of a Parenting Plan
In Florida, the concepts that traditionally were known as child custody and visitation are now called parenting responsibilities and timesharing. In dividing parental rights and responsibilities, the court will determine an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child and set forth an order establishing a parenting plan. If either party seeks to modify a parenting plan, he or she must show that there has been an unanticipated change in circumstances that is substantial, material, voluntary, and permanent.Modification of Alimony
Similarly, a party seeking a modification of alimony in Florida must show that a change in circumstances warrants a modification, such as an increase or decrease in income. Additionally, the court can reduce or terminate alimony if the person paying alimony proves that the person receiving alimony is cohabitating with a person with whom they have a supportive relationship.Explore Your Options with a Family Law Attorney in the Fort Lauderdale Area
If you have recently experienced a substantial change in circumstances and wish to change a support or custody order, it is essential to retain a knowledgeable lawyer to help you pursue a modification. Attorney Carmen Soto has more than 16 years of experience assisting residents of South Florida in family law matters. At the Law Offices of Carmen G. Soto, P.A., all of the staff speaks Spanish. We are mindful of each client’s financial situation and can offer a flexible payment plan to accommodate your means.
Our office is conveniently located across the street from the Broward County courthouse, enabling us to eliminate travel costs and parking fees for our clients. We represent people in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Weston, Tamarac, Margate, Hallandale Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, and other cities in Broward County. You can reach us at 954-523-0703 or through our online form to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.